From the opening notes of Saves The Day’s now-legendary emo album, Through Being Cool, Chris Conley confidently sings, “This isn’t the way we planned / I wasn’t supposed to forget your taste,” and it’s almost as if Conley and his band knew they might be on to something extraordinary here. The irony behind an album about leaving the cool kids to their cliques, while sitting a few out much like the cover art depicts, is humorous now because Saves the Day became emo legends on this record. Those same kids who wouldn’t give Conley and crew the time of day back in high school, are probably the ones now asking them for autographs after a show. This album was recently overlooked by Kerrang! magazine on the 25 greatest emo albums ever, much to my chagrin.
Looking back at the numerous bands influenced by this band and this album, in particular, one can not merely brush this record off as just another emo album. Instead with heart-on-my-sleeve lyrics about their hometown on songs such as “You Vandal,” where Conley sings, “I woke up to my cold sheets and the smell of New Jersey / When do I get to wake up to you?” there was no stopping this band’s ascent into greatness.
Yeah, I think if we had met the right person at that time—like if we had met Luke Wood at that time, we would have signed with him. Let’s say we didn’t meet people that felt familiar, like they’re from our world of music, and they get it there. They support artists, and it’s not just about making a profit or whatever. But eventually, we did find them in Vagrant Records. They were the same kind of people that we knew from Equal Vision. They were just on the West Coast, and they had a slightly bigger operation at the time. And that felt comfortable. The Get Up Kids had signed to Vagrant.
It’s interesting to think back if we had signed to a major label based on Through Being Cool. I think they would have wanted us to keep making that same record to make it a brand. And I think for me as a songwriter, I just would have flinched at that. And I wouldn’t have made it through that. I just would have given it all up.
Lifetime usually played fast and loud and sounded like Bad Brains with poetic lyrics, but this song was mid tempo and catchy and emotional and raw. I must have listened to this song a thousand times in my lifetime and its essence is fused with my DNA. This song is a major reason why Saves The Day slowed down a bit on Through Being Cool and started playing more mid tempo melodic rock and roll.
I don’t think anybody had that kind of scope, at the time, to be able to know something big was happening. We would drive down to Florida for shows, and the band that would open was New Found Glory. Then you became friends, and the next time you went down there, you’d meet their friends — like Dashboard Confessional. And when you went out to the Midwest you’d be on a bill with Alkaline Trio, then you’d join them on tour with Face to Face. There never was a focus on the finish line, or mainstream success. The reason the emo and pop-punk world thrived is that it was real people doing things that they loved, and telling their friends.
One positive bit of news that came out of this experience – Conley says that fans will not have to wait as long to hear new music from the band this time around. “We’ll keep writing,” he told me. “I think we’ll probably have a new album out next year.”
He also let it slip that they’ll be going on tour with Joyce Manor this summer, so look for that announcement soon.